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Monday, May 31, 2010

The Mongoliad and the Future of E-books

This is an article by Annalee Newitz that I came across recently. In it they discuss the future of publishing and the power of the e-book to be an entirely different format from the print book.

What was really interesting is the capacity that the book will have to be collaborative, especially when it comes to subjects that people are experts in, particularly things like sword fighting or martial arts. People who are experts on such things often find themselves disappointed by what they read or what they see in films. The author of the article talked about the ability to make the contributions of outsiders canon, so that people who really have something to contribute really can improve the quality of the piece.

What really interests me, and what really wasn't touched on in the article, was the suitability of the medieval period as a subject for these new formats. The project is being let by Neal Stephenson, among others. He is a science fiction author, but the title of this first work is going to be The Mongoliad. It is all going to be set in the Medieval period. At the end of the Annalee Newitz article it says:

Ready to download The Mongoliad and get medieval? Subutai plans to launch before the end of the year. Sign up for updates on the project via their official website.

It makes sense to have this project be an historical one because more people will have an expertise on the subject. And why not the medieval period, due to its inherent romanticism, and the plethora of people who are experts on medieval warfare. It really is a good subject for this project and I think as medievalists we should keep thinking about why.

Be sure to check it out.